Raising Women’s Voices

The Morning After: Obama and the Dems Win Big–What It Means For Health Care

Posted in Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on November 6, 2008

258 House and 57 Senate Democrats make it almost certain that major health reform will be passed. Right?

Actually, that was the number of Democrats Bill Clinton started off with in 1993 and we know what happened to health care reform in that Congress.

With similar Democratic majorities, I do not expect a major health care reform bill like the one President-Elect Barack Obama called for during the campaign–in 2009 or 2010.

I do expect a number of important health bills including the renewal of the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP) and a major Medicare bill.

Here are the reasons why we could have a big health care reform bill in 2009:

  1. Obama and the Democrats called for health reform during the campaign and many voters expect them to follow through.
  2. Senator Kennedy has already begun a significant bipartisan effort and many in the Congress want to see the Senator succeed in what could well be his last effort toward a career-long goal.
  3. The health care system continues at unsustainable cost levels–the average family cost of employer-provided health insurance reached $12,800 this year.
  4. There are 45 million uninsured.

Here are the reasons why, in spite of all of our health care problems, I don’t believe we will have a big comprehensive health care reform bill in 2009 or 2010:

  1. There is no consensus in the Congress or the country on what a comprehensive health care bill would look like.
  2. Our people don’t want health reform badly enough to force the Congress to stand up to the powerful stakeholders and make them do it.
  3. We don’t have the money.

There is no consensus.
Barack Obama did win a big victory. He did promise health care reform. But he won with slightly more than 50% of the vote and John McCain‘s voters gave him close to 50% of the vote. The country remains split over the degree to which government should be involved in our health care system and that is reflected in the Congress–even after the Democratic victory yesterday…..

For the full story, please go to: http://healthpolicyandmarket.blogspot.com/2008/11/morning-after-obama-and-dems-win-big.html


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